[Review] Lore Olympus: Vol. 4 & 5 by Rachel Smythe

Volume 4

The rumor mill of Olympus is constantly churning, but Persephone and Hades are all anyone can talk about. With the constant gossip creating intense pressure on the pair, they decide to slow down their budding romance and focus on sorting out their own issues first.

But that’s easier said than done.

Hades struggles to find support in his personal life, with Zeus trivializing his feelings and Minthe resorting to abusive patterns in their relationship. And while Hades tries to create healthier boundaries where he can—like finally putting a stop to his sporadic, revenge-fueled hookups with Hera—he still feels lonely and adrift.

Persephone feels equally ostracized as her classmates shun her for her connection to Hades, and she can find no refuge at home, with Apollo constantly dropping by unannounced and pushing his unwelcome advances. And on top of it all, the wrathful god of war, Ares, has returned to Olympus to dredge up his sordid history with the goddess of spring, threatening to surface Persephone’s dark and mysterious past and ruin her tenuous position in the land of the gods.

Despite agreeing to take it slow, Persephone and Hades find themselves inextricably drawn toward each other once more amid the chaos. The pull of fate cannot be denied.


Source, Buy, Look Inside (AD) — Hardcover | $27.99 | Published by Inklore | Jun 06, 2023 | 416 Pages | 7 x 9 | ISBN 9780593599044


It’s been a while…

since I read and reviewed the first, the second, and the third volume of this series. Back then, I adored the characters, their dorkiness, but also the more serious themes in the story. There are the ones that come with the retelling: freeing oneself from parental supervision and finding one’s own path. Those probably also include the Gods’ reputations and the creator’s play with those. Although the series overall is relatively light when it comes to their deeds. What Rachel Smythe adds to this story is a lot of insecurity on Hades’ side, which I adore.


We still don’t have a real grasp on Hades‘ backstory…

but we get glimpses again and again. While Persephone struggles with her destiny and her late abuse, Hades takes quite a lot of action. That is not to dismiss Persephone’s recurring encounters with her abuser and her brave reactions to that. That is to tell you that this volume, in my opinion, allows Hades to make some important decisions. For those who’ve read the former volumes (spoilers ahead) his own (mentally) abusive relationship is common knowledge. It made me so proud of this character to see him become more aware and more self-conscious in this regard.




The graphic style is not new to readers of the series.

Nonetheless, I want to make a few comments. I still pretty much enjoy the colorfulness and the overdrawn expressions of the characters. Sometimes, I also really appreciate the subtleness of Hades’ facial expressions. Although we have quite a lot of characters, their color scheme is probably the only thing that lets be distinguish them. That is not to say that I did not enjoy the return of some friendly or less-so figures. Rachel Smythe surely invests in establishing backstories and former encounters between the characters. I nonetheless sometimes which there was more of a story arc for Persephone. Well, maybe the next novel will bring some more revelations.




Volume 5

It is Persephone’s birthday, and she receives the ultimate gift: Hades confesses his desire for her, leading to their first kiss. But that doesn’t necessarily make things easier for the goddess of spring, who is still in over her head in gossip-driven Olympus. Persephone feels intense guilt over the official breakup between Hades and Minthe, she is struggling to find her footing in her fast-paced job, and—worst of all—the shades of her past are slowly coming to light.

After an unexpected encounter with Apollo, Persephone flees into the depths of the Underworld. Concerned for her safety and determined to find her, Hades must team up with Artemis, Eros, and Hera, but they’re working against a ticking clock. Zeus knows about the bloody secret in Persephone’s past, and now the furious king of the gods will stop at nothing to bring her to justice.


Source, Buy, Look Inside (AD) — Hardcover | $27.99 | Published by Inklore | Oct 03, 2023 | 400 Pages | 7 x 9 | ISBN 9780593599068


This fifth volume takes us to the end of the first season intended by the creator.

But it also continues after this big finale revelation about Persephone’s past. If I was looking for some character or plot arc, I surely found it in these chapters. Persephone and Hades surely make some progress. The actual drive comes, nonetheless, from their haters trying to dig up some dirt. It is sad and entertaining to see how these two characters solely minding their own business and fighting for their own happiness bring together some serious opponents.


Although the volume shifts the cliffhanger…

the printed one is just as amazing. On Persephone’s side, there is not a lot of change in the last ten episodes. We nonetheless get a lot of amazing teamwork and encounters from other characters. Especially Hera and Zeus finally get a bigger part in the plot, although they have quite some marriage problems. Hades is presented to be less of a loner but in his life-long friendship with Hecate, which I adore. His and Artemis’ emotions are what kept me engaged in this last part. I really enjoy when the main characters step back and let some others have their moments.




… with more of the side characters returning, their similarities become apparent. It was quite hard for me to distinguish between Eros and Apollo; Artemis, Aphrodite, and Psyche. I also wonder if their color pattern has any significance. As their hairstyles and outfits frequently change, it is sometimes difficult to recognize them in time. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their recurrence and their fierce agency. Especially of Hermes and Eros I grow ever fonder. The former might be in knowledge of some secrets that we only get to discover in this volume and the next.



Volume 4 and 5…

surely feature some emotional and enchanting moments. I love those scenes between out protagonists by now as much as those without their presence. Although it is hard to distinguish the side characters, I enjoy their stories and actions just as much as Hades’ and Persephone’s.



The creator:

Rachel Smythe is the creator of the Eisner Award-winning Lore Olympus, published via Webtoon. Source

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